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I'm not sure I can say I had a style of music that I particularly enjoyed until I stumbled across an episode of the Andy Griffith show many years ago. There for a few short seconds was a group called the Darlings playing the song 'Dooley'. I had no idea what kind of music that was but I knew that was the purrdiest thing I had ever heard. All the instruments (except the jug) were string instruments. I recognized the guitar, fiddle and stand up bass but had never heard of the mandolin, banjo, dulcimer or dobro (I led a sheltered life). I watched the Andy Griffith show every chance I got just to hear 'that' music.

Whenever Andy would ask if he could 'pick with the boys', Brisco Darling, father of the Darling Gang (played by Denver Pyle) would reply 'Just jump in there where you can and hang on . . . a one and a two and a one and a two'. I loved it. The Darlings (the Dillards) made several appearances on the Andy Griffith show but didn't play on every show -- which was down right frustrating when this was your only source of this music. Many years later (and still at the mercy of the Andy Griffith show) I stumbled across the wellspring of bluegrass -- the Missouri Ozarks. It is here that we soak up all we can and have learned to appreciate this very special music.

Now if you aren't steeped in the music of the hills you can watch short clips of the Darling Gang as they appeared on the Andy Griffith show. Open your browser to www.YouTube.com and then search on 'Andy Griffith - Darlings'. There will be several of the Darling gang clips. My favorites beside Dooley are There is a Time (sung by Charlene), Picking in Jail, Ebo Walker, Boil Them Cabbage Down, Shady Grove, Doug's tune and Whoa Mule. I just don't think it get's any better.

P.S. For you Ernest T. Bass fans you can also see a clip of Ernest courting Charlene (search for 'Andy Griffith - Ernest T Bass Courts Charlene').

"The Bluegrass is always greener."

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